Yesterday was time for my annual review. One of the topics up for discussion was that this year the entire organization is going to be asked to come up with disaster recovery strategies. Now as far as our data goes, I’ve had a disaster recovery plan in place for a number of years, although it’s mostly been undocumented, I know where everything is, know where it’s backed up, and how to get it in an emergency. The other part of disaster recovery though, that my boss wants me to spend a lot of time on this year has to do with recovering from the loss of a staff member. Specifically, if I leave suddenly, for whatever reason, how are they going to know what needs to be done?
I’m not exactly sure how to document what I do. I can document the normal things I do on a monthly basis, what reports need run at month end, how to do billing, how to setup new accounts, or get virus updates pushed out, but how do you document all the little quirks and abnormalities across the entire organization that I just “know” how to deal with. Things like knowing which users to keep an eye on for using up disk space, why Friday is a bad day to do any updates, where I keep the stuff that’s been archived off of the main file server to increase free disk space on it, how to connect to that computer, what’s been archived, where to find the help desk database, all the hardware documentation, the master list of email accounts, who to contact at various vendors when you need something specific from them, and on and on and on. I’ve been at this for more than 7 years, I know more about the infrastructure and environment of this office than I could possible write out. I know more than I think I know, ya’ know? 🙂
Like I said, I don’t know how to document things, and end up with a finished product that comes close to what my boss described to me. She wants to be able to look at what I do and divide it into categories and decide on how to replace me based on what categories could be shifted to other existing staff, and what cannot. For example, do you hire someone who can handle the day to day desktop and server support and move the database admin stuff to someone else, knowing that finding someone with expertise on our specific database is next to impossible, or do you hire a DBA to be your data expert and outsource the desktop/network support, knowing that there are plenty of firms who can get that covered for you without having to hire a full time employee? Obviously, in order to do that, she needs to understand how much time I spend on each of those areas, and how much of my knowledge is replaceable from the outside. So I have to come up with a way to document that. I think, for right now I’m simply going to start listing what I do, as I do it, and once I’ve got a few days or weeks down on paper, see what looks like a sensible way to organize it. Sounds like a good use for OneNote, eh?
On the other hand, perhaps it should worry me that my boss, and her boss, are spending so much time thinking about how to replace me? 🙂
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